Ways to make eating with utensils fun
At this age, it would be a little much to expect Baby to be a perfect utensil-user. But that just opens up more possibilities for you and Baby to have some fun while they get the hang of this whole adult-eating-meals thing. Here are some things to consider as Baby learns the ins and outs of using utensils to eat their food.
Don’t start with great-grandma’s silverware
Baby is a little too young to use – let alone appreciate – your family heirloom soup spoons, so it may be best to avoid using these while they are this young.
Do buy child-friendly silverware
Ideally, you’ll give Baby smaller, child-sized utensils that have a wide, non-slip handle. There are lots of child utensils that have colorful or fun handles, some of which even come in the shape of common toys. If you can, try to buy some suction bowls to help decrease the number of messes you’ll no doubt have in the kitchen.
Don’t always act like an adult
While Baby is this age, utensils don’t have to be all about consuming food. Yes, that’s the ultimate end goal, but letting Baby play around and practice handling and using different utensils is important, as well.
Do channel your inner toddler
Let Baby watch you move food around or from bowl to bowl with a spoon or fork. Bring a doll or toy to Baby‘s place and pretend to feed it, or let Baby try to feed it some food using a utensil. If you’re feeling brave, play “toddler” with Baby. Change into some mess-friendly clothes and pretend to be the baby while Baby tries to feed you with a utensil.
Don’t limit practice to the dinner table
To use utensils, you need skills. To develop skills, you need to practice. Why limit Baby to only practicing with utensils at the table?
Do give Baby opportunities away from the table
Baby needs time to develop the coordination and physical strength that they need to use utensils. This could be anything from scooping water in the bathtub with measuring cups or plastic serving spoons, to practicing with play-dough.
Don’t be afraid to give Baby some free reign
Sometimes Baby will want you to do the feeding, but other times, Baby will make it clear that they want to try things out on their own. If you’re getting a ‘lay off’ vibe from Baby, it can’t hurt to give them some space.
Do let Baby do their own thing from time-to-time
…Even if you see a mess coming or you’re pretty sure the food won’t make it to Baby‘s mouth.
Most toddlers are messy eaters up until they’re two and a half to three years old, and even at that age, they might still be a little clumsy. So don’t worry too much about how close Baby is to perfecting their craft. Just make sure you’re providing them with ample guidance and support so that they see how to use the utensils and gets a regular opportunity to practice.